3 recent posts brought together a combined topic on NAR, Social Gospel and Liberation Theology, which have an influential place in the Pentecostal tradition. William DeArteaga republished a 1996 interview with the author of Fire from Heaven, John Kissinger reported Cuba’s new opening for Bibles and religion and John Ruffle touched on the topic of New Apostolic Reformation.
Post 1: Dr. Harvey Cox (Baptist) of HDS wrote his book Fire from Heaven as a response to his previous work The Secular City in which he basically declared the end of the Christian religion as we know it. His observations were predominantly among South American Pentecostals who came out of the Social Gospel movement with certain trends and/or affiliation toward Liberation Theology. More specifically, he wrote about the Pentecostal revival in Brazil, which claimed over 2mln. members during that time. Cox had limited observation on North American Pentecostalism and virtually no observations on European and African Pentecostalism, or even the Asian Pentecostal movement, which at that time was much stronger than any other Pentecostal group in the world.
Post 2: Cuba was closed for Christianity during the Social Gospel era, but many report that Russian global export of communism affected Liberation Theology even in relevance to some communist countries (as Cuba) where religion was otherwise long banned.
Post 3: Fresh out of Fuller Seminary, with some years of missionary experience in South America, Dr. Peter Wagner established the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Like Cox, Wagner took what he observed within South American liberation theology and brought it a step further. Perhaps for this very reason, the new apostolic theology (oddly combining gifts and ministries of the Spirit with reformed post-millennial eschatology) greatly appeals to Pentecostal movements in countries which were somehow organizationally oppressed (post-communist, ex-colonies, etc.).
Is there a connection between these three theological trends, in your opinion? If so, what is it and does it chart a new theological direction among Pentecostals in North America, in other geographical regions or even globally? And most importantly, what follows next?
Marxism has also exerted a profound influence on liberation theologians. This should not be taken to mean that they have espoused Marxism as a holistic plan of political action, for they have not. Their interest has been limited to using Marxist categories for social analysis. According to Marx, man once existed in a simple, primitive state. At that time, there was happiness and tranquility. This primitive state of happiness was disrupted, however, by the rise of economic classes where one class sought to oppress and exploit another for its own economic advantage. Marx believed all of man’s problems are the direct result of this class exploitation. He portrayed capitalism as the chief culprit that gave rise to this undesirable state of affairs.